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When a Servant is summoned by the Holy Grail, they are gifted with the knowledge of the modern world so they can easily adjust. When it comes to determining the strengths and weaknesses of an enemy Servant, the Servants themselves seem to be able to rely on a pool of data, as shown during the prologue of Fate/Stay Night: when Rin and Archer face Lancer, Archer reveals that he has deduced Lancer's true identity.

However, during this same scene, Lancer is frustrated because he doesn't know of any hero who was an Archer but also used twin swords, given that we know that Archer is

a future alternate version of Shirou who became the Counter-Guardian EMIYA.

When a Servant is summoned, are they also given the knowledge of the legends for heroes who appeared after that Servant's death? (i.e. Gilgamesh is probably the oldest legend, and as such he predates most others and thus wouldn't know about other legends that occur after his death unless supplemented by the Grail)

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In episode 4 of Fate/Zero anime, when Lancer identifies Saber as King of Knights, he says:

No Heroic Spirit summoned by the Holy Grail could ever mistake that golden blade.

That's the only indicator I can think of that somewhat points to the answer for your question.

Furthermore, Lancer's true identity,

Diarmuid Ua Duibhne,

is hero of a myth in the period between II and IV century, while Saber's true identity is

King Arthur,

whose legend took place between late V and early VI century, which means that Lancer couldn't have known Saber's legend when he was alive.

After writing above, I looked at TYPE-MOON Wiki and found this:

They [Servants] are not granted knowledge on other Heroes through the Grail, but rather from knowledge gained within the Throne of Heroes. Witnessing traits of other Servants can allow them to deduce their true names with the knowledge even if they are from incompatible eras.


Aberrations like Saber, who is not part of the Throne of Heroes due to her circumstances, are able to identify those whose legends would have been known to them in life, such as Cú Chulainn, but cannot identify the legends of later Heroic Spirits like Gilles de Rais even after being directly named.

No source is offered for the first part, and if that's true, it would indeed contradict with Fate/stay night's Archer's case, since he is a complete heroic spirit who properly entered Throne of Heroes, yet other heroic spirits have no knowledge of him.

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    Excellent thinking with 4th War Lancer! It seems like the best way to understand the Grail's function is that it equips Servants with knowledge of all persons who are famed as heroes in the time into which they are summoned. Since (5th War) Archer is not famous by the time of the 5th War, Servants are not granted knowledge of him. – senshin Dec 29 '14 at 20:25
  • Since Saber is an aberration who never entered the Throne of Heros at the time it seems Lancer's words contradict what the wikia says that Servants gain the knowledge of other Heroic Spirits, unless Gen Urobuchi made a mistake when he wrote Fate/Zero (provided Lancer's line in the anime is from the original book) – Memor-X Dec 29 '14 at 21:06
  • @Memor-X Not necessarily. The simplest reason being that a large number of Arthur's knights were part of the Throne, and secondhand knowledge could trickle out from there. And Gawain is supposed to have personally handled Excalibur on a number of occasions as part of being the public face of the King. So the legend could have been easily available to Heroic Spirits, even if Arturia herself was not. I think this may be supported by Diarmuid recognizing the sword, but as I recall he was still surprised at the appearance and gender of Arturia. – zibadawa timmy Dec 29 '14 at 23:04
  • @Memor-X I believe it may only work one way - that is, a Heroic Spirit that enters the Throne of Heroes gain knowledge of every other Heroic Spirits, but doesn't have to enter ToH to be part of that knowledge itself. Saber may have been "incomplete" but she still was a Heroic Spirit, otherwise she couldn't be summoned by the Grail. That way both sources are satisfied (though Archer remains contradictory). It's peculiar, but Nasuverse is full of such peculiarities. – Red Dec 29 '14 at 23:19

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